Kings Keep Winning Despite Underwhelming Second Period
In the last Kings game, they came out strong against the Colorado Avalanche in the first period outshooting them 15-4. It all went downhill after that. The Avalanche tied the game up in the third period, and the Kings had to sweat it out in the shootout before they got the victory.
I'd like to say that was a surprise, but I did call it. During the first intermission when a bunch of us media honks were talking about the game, I noted that as well as the Kings had played they were within a choking zone having led only 2-0.
It was much the same tonight in their 2-1 victory against the Ducks. They had a pretty strong first period holding the Ducks to only one shot on goal while Drew Doughty scored a goal from the top of the slot that hit a couple of Ducks sticks on its way past Fasth.
But yet again the Kings laid back in the second period. The Kings only had one shot on goal in the first 18 minutes of the second period, and that came in the second minute.
Near the end of a power play, goaltender Jonathan Quick saw the puck coming towards him with Ryan Getzlaf charging towards it. Quick decided to come out of the crease to poke check the puck to safety. Unfortunately it was a bad decision. Getzlaf got to the puck first and past two diving Kings players to tie the game.
"Thank God Quick second guessed himself and I was able to get there before him," Getzlaf said.
That seemed to put the Kings on their heels as the puck was in their zone for most of the period. It wasn't until the final two minutes when they came back alive thanks to a Francois Beauchemin penalty. After the faceoff Mike Richards hit a slap shot from the top of the left circle and top shelved it over Fasth.
"I think we can always be better, and we needed to clean some things up," Trevor Lewis said. "I think we did a good job after that, coming back and being strong."
Lewis got his eighth assist of the season on the Doughty goal in the first period recording a shot on goal, four missed shots and a hit in 18:29 of ice time.
Aside from the one mistake, Quick was everything the Kings needed in goal with 19 saves. Particularly imperssive was this number in the third period against Matt Beleskey:
Perhaps I'm just expecting too much. The Kings did win these last two games after all.
But there was a dominance to the Kings during the playoffs that left no question they were there to win it all. I'm not getting that from them right now.
Then again, in the final two games against San Jose last season they looked like a trainwreck. So much so I predicted the Vancouver Canucks to sweep the Kings in the first round. Maybe they have a switch they can turn on the playoffs?
Sutter likes where the team is right now.
"I like our team," Sutter said. "We just finished seven of 11 on the road, and the White House, and managed to still win our home games while we were doing it. Without having one day off anywhere there, with all that travelling, I think all of our guys did a good job."
Both the Ducks and the Kings have six games remaining, and with seven points separating the two teams the Kings still have slim chance of winning the Pacific Division. But home ice advantage is not important to Sutter. "Trying to get in," Sutter said on Thursday. "That's what we're trying to do first."
Amazingly enough the Kings still haven't clinched a playoff berth, although a huge collapse will be needed to keep them out.